By Holly Wise
and Colleen Flaherty
Killeen Daily Herald
Federal charges are expected to be filed against an AWOL Fort Campbell soldier today in connection with possession of bomb-making material following his arrest in Killeen Wednesday.
Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, 21, was apprehended by the Killeen Police Department, according to federal investigators, who became involved after his arrest.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Erik Vasys said he anticipates Abdo will be charged with possession of bomb-making materials later today.
Vasys said gunpowder was one of the components found in Abdo’s possession.
An Article 32 hearing was held on June 15 and the investigating officers recommended Abdo face general court-martial. Abdo went AWOL on July 4 from Fort Campbell, Ky.
Troy Roland, an Army spokesperson at the Pentagon, said Abdo submitted a conscientious objector packet but his discharge request had been put on hold.
Roland did not know when the court-martial was scheduled.
A tip from a Killeen gun dealer may have led to Abdo’s arrest. Greg Ebert, a Guns Galore clerk and retired sergeant with the Killeen Police Department, said he reported a suspicious customer to the department Tuesday evening.
A 21-year-old customer arrived at the shop in a taxi at 1 p.m. Tuesday and purchased an unusually large amount of smokeless gunpowder, Ebert said, which can be used as an explosive.
Ebert said the young man was rude to staff and through a series of questions led them to believe that he was largely unfamiliar with what he was buying.
“He randomly selected six canisters of smokeless powder, a mix of fast and slow,” Ebert said. Combined powders with different burning rates “can be highly volatile,” he said.
In addition to the six pounds of smokeless powder, Ebert said, the customer also purchased three boxes of shotgun shells and an extra magazine for a pistol.
This morning, U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, released a statement commending Guns Galore for its assistance in apprehending the suspect.
“Thanks to quick action by a Texas gun dealer in alerting local police to a suspicious character, and a prompt and vigorous response by the Killeen Police Department, we may well have averted a repeat of the tragic 2009 radical Islamic terror attack on our nation’s largest military installation.”
Abdo enlisted in the Army in March 2009. He was an infantryman assigned in June to 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.
Roland said Abdo is from Garland but was not aware of any ties to Fort Hood. He did not have information regarding previous disciplinary records for Abdo.